Atlanta, GA — Get ready to replace your weekly Target run with a more meaningful purchase. On November 16-17, 2018, goods from over 100 Black-owned businesses will be on sale at the Inaugural We Buy Black Convention in Atlanta at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
And if you think there will only be shea butter and incense, think again.
“Our people create almost everything we need. There’s really no reason for us to give our money to corporations and companies that don’t have our interests in mind,” said Shareef Abdul-Malik, 26 year-old Howard alumnus, event organizer, and founder of e-commerce site WeBuyBlack.com.
With the theme “Remove, Replace, and Rebuild: Our Struggle Toward Collective Economic Dignity”, the convention will showcase goods from vendors selling everything from daily necessities like toothbrushes, toilet paper, and laundry detergent to clothing, art, and homewares. “It’s time we remove our dollars from companies that do not support our community, replace these companies with Black owned businesses giving us the dignity to support ourselves, and rebuild our family and community like every other civilized group in America and around the world,” he said.
Organizers and vendors hope the convention will help show consumers how easy it can be to swap some of their favorite goods for similar items produced by Black-owned companies.
Channeling the “Do For Self” mantra, Shareef believes that soon, all the wants and needs within the Black or African American community will be created and provided by the community:
“There’s no dignity in shopping at stores and nothing is produced by African Americans and those of African decent. I believe it is a sin when we give our money over to other communities and watch our schools suffer, our businesses close, and our family without jobs. I believe that is a sin. It’s no victory when one of us land our products on the shelves of these large corporate stores, it’s a victory when we become the large store and house the products of our whole community. Our collective success is much more important and fulfilling. We will never be able to support the world properly, until we do for our self.”
Connecting Black businesses with consumers is not new for Abdul-Malik, but he hopes this convention will help get the community excited about the variety of high-quality products Black businesses have to offer and inspire others to become business owners themselves.
“This is not just about making a sale, this is about empowering our community and showing what the Black dollar and the Black entrepreneurial mind can accomplish. Who knew we had a Black owned battery company, laundry detergent, first-aid bandages, toothbrushes, bed sheets, toilet tissue, diapers, and more? Wherever there’s a predominantly Black community, there should be a Black owned grocery store with predominantly Black owned products. This is what this convention is about,” he said. “We’ve got everything, from a business competition to a hot sauce competition … we even have a workshop on manufacturing and a fashion show. So, we’ve really got something for everyone.”
In addition to the live marketplace, the convention has a full roster of business workshops available, including a Business to Business Speed Consulting session, pitch competition, panel discussions, and a fashion show and conversation with the founders of Black-owned fashion brand FUBU.
Although there is a large emphasis on business and commerce, the convention still promises to be a family-friendly event. Children who attend will have access to their own robust lineup of equally empowering events like a STEM science show and youth entrepreneur presentations, in addition to face painting, storytelling, and surprise visits by Black cartoon character favorites. Admission is free for children under 18 years old.
Live entertainment will be provided by Neo-soul performing artist Bilal and a roster of national artists.
We Buy Black Convention
Nov. 16-17, 2018
Cobb Galleria Centre
2 Galleria Parkway – Atlanta, GA 30339
Tickets and more information can be found at www.webuyblackconvention.com